GORDONIANS 18 KIRKCALDY 40
Superior forward power brought a convincing bonus point win for the Blues at Countesswells last Saturday. In many ways this was a similar sort of game to that what which the teams contested in the first round of the National League Cup at the same venue the start of last season. Then the hosts opened up at an early lead as the Blues struggled to find a way into the game. This time the Blues scored first through No 8 Steve Milne in the third minute but Gordonians hit back very quickly with a well worked try from left winger Daniel Osugu.
For the next twenty minutes Kirkcaldy found it well nigh impossible to find a way back into proceedings as they contrived to make all sorts of errors. To make matters worse they conceded a shoal of penalties, seven in a fifteen minute spell, and were fortunate that no one was carded. All but one of these penalties were unprofitably kicked to touch. The exception in the 18th minute was successfully put to goal by centre Graeme Crawford to give his side an 8-7 lead.
Further woe befell the Blues in the 32nd minute when this advantage was extended with another unconverted try from Osugu. Apart from his earlier penalty goal Crawford was having a miserable kicking game as he then had a whole series of misses at goal. Gordonians excellent running and support work for their tries really deserved more.
However credit for these Gordonians’ scoring failures must go to some stern Kirkcaldy defensive work with very few failed tackles. As half time neared there was added step in Kirkcaldy running and there were signs that the home team was flagging a bit after their earlier efforts.
Prolonged possession and a series of thrusts into Gordonian cover produced a try for prop Marcus Salt. Craig Letham’s conversion gave the lead back to Kirkcaldy, never to be lost again.
Line-out possession from the touch line gave a platform for a third Kirkcaldy try just as half time beckoned. On this occasion Danny Jennings went over after warhorse Greg Wallace, then on as a replacement, had made inroads. Letham’s conversion saw the Blues go into the interval with a slightly flattering 21-13 advantage.
This lead should have been improved upon in the opening minutes of the second period but two miscued line-outs meant that the home team escaped further reverses Now with a pronounced wind advantage which Gordonians had failed to make positive use of in the first half, the Blues upped their game by several gears to take complete control of proceedings.
Five minutes into the second period the lively Owen Bonner had the bonus point try and by this time Gordonians were struggling in defence against an increasingly rampant Kirkcaldy pack dominating the break downs and now finding themselves on the right side of the referee.
Any glimmer of a Gordonian attack quickly floundered with the Blues back row trio impressing. Wallace, making a strong contribution to his side’s efforts, had the fifth Kirkcaldy counter after the Blues had kicked a penalty to the corner and he capitalised from the subsequent line-out.
As had happened in the 2018 visit to Countesswells, Kirkcaldy fitness superiority again proved a telling factor in the closing stages, no more so than when Blues’ skipper Josh Laird left the Gordonians defence well behind him as he fizzed to the line for the concluding Kirkcaldy try, again converted by Letham. In stoppage time with the outcome well beyond doubt Gordonians had a third unconverted try from full back Mark Marchbank.
After six weeks out of action, naturally the Blues took a while to get into their stride but once they did the result was inevitable. Stronger tests await in February and continuing improvement will be essential
GORDONIANS M Marchbank, S Orr, D Morrow, G Crawford, D Osugu, T Urquhart, M Hillier, M Brechin, J Greenwood, T Williams, A McInnes, C Hogg, C Buchan, F Lennox, K Dalgarno
Replacements:- E Cameron, W Simmers, J White, A Stephen
KIRKCALDY F Smith, A Brooks, T Glendinning, J Laird, O Bonner, C Letham, G McKenzie, D Jennings, C Hamilton, M Salt, C Wood, G Shields, J Denton, K Mitchell, S Milne
Replacements:- G Wallace, G Queen, J Devine
Fife Trophy Centre STAR CHECK
3 Steve Milne
2 Marcus Salt
1 Jack Denton
16 Josh Laird
11 Jacob Ramsay
10 Thomas Glendinning
8 Connor Wood. Steve Milne
7 Rhys Bonner, Marcus Salt
6 Stuart Porter
5 Danny Jennings
3 Timmy Kennedy, Owen Bonner
2 Chris Mann Finlay Smith
1 Seb Evans, Sean McKervall, Craig Letham, Jack Denton